Information on systems thinking and how to use the systems and habits approach to improvement.
Small changes in life can be meaningless or they can be life changing. The variable that determines how important small changes become is in consistency.
If, one day, we make a small change in our life and then go back to our old ways that small change is probably meaningless in the grand scheme of things. If we make a small change but take that new step in our lives over and over again and slowly add more small steps, the output can be incredible.
Whenever we feel sick, the first response of most people is to try to feel better. We reach for medicines that can relieve the horrible symptoms that we experience. We want to get rid of the headache. We want to stop the running nose. We want our stomach to feel less achy.
So we reach for the medicine cabinet to see what instant fixes are available. We take the medicine assuming this is going to help us get better.
One of the benefits of the systems and habits approach to improvement is the fact that it allows us to break off pieces of the journey towards betterment. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once we simply tackle one step at a time.
This allows us to take on a different mindset. Instead of getting overwhelmed at all of the future challenges that will certainly come our way, we focus on the current challenge only. We work solely to tackle this problem in front of us.
Whenever we set out to reach a goal we have to be willing to do the difficult work required to change. We can’t simply have a positive idea of a better future and then wish and wish until we obtain it.
This means that we have to do things that we probably don’t want to do. If we keep doing what we want to do, we will keep doing the same things we are doing today. And if we keep doing what we are doing today we will keep getting the same results.
We all want more out of life. We want happiness and success. We want pleasure and achievement. We all want to have great health and wellness. We want wealth that grows larger over time.
While we all want those things, we all go about life differently. Some people sacrifice and work hard, trying to gain one or more on that list. Some people see the difficulty in trying to reach those goals and simply give up.
Years ago I was listening to a successful business owner talk about the culture he created at his company. He talked about how he made it a point to have employees do the right thing.
He talked about it to employees. He made sure his decisions followed the creed to do the right thing. He would do what is right when the choice presented was between the right thing that was hard and a shortcut.
Success in life is complicated. There are many factors involved and we all define success differently.
But let’s just assume there is a common agreement on what it means to succeed. Let’s assume we all mean that we set a goal and then reach that goal.
I’ve led a lot of projects over the years. Some of these have been large-scale corporate projects involving multiple departments and numerous people all working towards one common outcome. Some have been small operational improvements that only involve a handful of people.
A lot goes into project management. There are countless books and methodologies that can help someone learn the best practices for taking a project from idea through completion.
Years ago I read a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer that analyzed and explained the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching is an ancient text, 2,500 years old. Many throughout the ages have called it the wisest book ever written.
Dr. Dyer’s book was titled Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. When I first started to read it I hated the title and felt it was too attention-grabbing and wouldn’t hold up to that incredible claim.
Systems are made up of interconnecting elements that all work harmoniously towards a goal. This isn’t to say that every element is perfect on it’s own. It is just that as a full unit the system runs and operates as designed.
People judge systems, not based on their quality as a system, but in how the system impacts them. They see the various factors, outliers, side effects, etc. and then form an opinion of the system.
I hear a lot of talk about the entitled millennial generation. Being on the edge of the age range of this generation, I have worked with many millennials.
For a while, I bought into the notion that the millennials were entitled, lazy and disconnected from reality. I saw first-hand some of these attributes. Certainly not all individuals in this particular generation fit the stereotype but many did.
Finish the sentence, the more you gamble the more likely you will ____. What did you immediately think of?
Many people immediately chose the word “win.” They assume that gambling is about playing for longer periods of time so that you can hang in there through losses to reach the winnings.
When I start to talk with someone about improvement, the biggest question that comes up in my mind is what are they doing on a regular basis? What are they doing daily that is different than most people? Are they doing the same things or vastly different things throughout their day?
This provides great insight into who they are. You can start to see from their actions what controls them and what they have control over. You can see limitations in their willpower. You can see areas of focus and what they feel is important.
Whenever we set out to improve, we have to build the right systems. The systems are the key to whether or not we actually improve and get better.
But most people spend time focused elsewhere. They work on building their motivation. They create plans. They create vision boards displaying all the things they will buy once they succeed.
We all go through life with people influencing us. Sometimes that is good and positive role models help us achieve more and sometimes we get caught up with the wrong crowd.
Either way, systems thinking tells us that those factors matter in our life. We can’t simply ignore them. They matter.
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This website has been developed to help you understand the power of systems and habits in your life and then take action to build the person that you want to become. There are over 70 free articles, 1 free eBook, and free videos and links to other system and habit experts.